LNP makes strong pledge to fix irrigator water issues
MEMBERS of the LNP have pledged to investigate immediate and certain water security options for Lockyer Valley and Somerset irrigators, if the LNP wins the next state election.
Leader Deb Frecklington said the LNP’s plan would include making water available for irrigation from Wivenhoe Dam’s storage.
Her statement was made in response to a briefing set out by the Lockyer Valley and Somerset Water Collaborative, which she and LNP Member for Lockyer Jim McDonald attended.
“I first met these irrigators five years ago and I cannot believe they have been forced to fight for more water for so long,” Ms Frecklington said.
“Jim McDonald and I remain committed to water security for Lockyer Valley and Somerset irrigators. These are our people and they feed much of Australia and the world.”
She thanked the Lockyer Valley and Somerset councils, and local irrigators and industry groups for their hard work with the collaborative, which is set to complete a business case for 50,000ML of new water later this year.
“A priority for an incoming LNP Government would be investigating immediate and certain options to give the Lockyer Valley and Somerset Irrigators the water security they need,” Ms Frecklington said.
“While we support the collaborative’s business case for recycled water for agriculture, we believe that other water security solutions are available and if we win government the LNP is committed to unlocking more water.”
Among her promises is a plan to conduct a statewide water audit, which includes Wivenhoe Dam, which will allow for a review of the current government policy that water in Wivenhoe and other assets is only used for the urban water supply.
“This means an LNP government will make the 50,000ML of water available annually from the Wivenhoe Dam storage on condition that the urban supply is not impacted,” she said.
Water for irrigation would not be provided if the SEQ water grid’s capacity falls below 60 per cent – the current level is 64.2 per cent.
“The LNP is committed to getting Queensland working again and unlocking water across the states,” Ms Frecklington said.
“As well as maximising the potential from existing infrastructure, a future LNP Government will support the New Bradfield Scheme – the largest water infrastructure project ever built in Queensland.”
The New Bradfield project intends to create Queensland’s biggest dam, along with a hydro-electric plant capable of powering 800,000 homes.
“It will hold as much water as 28 Sydney Harbours and allow an area larger than Tasmania to be irrigated in outback Queensland,” Ms Frecklington said.
“Building new dams and improving productivity from existing water infrastructure are central to my plan to get Queensland working again, because I know that water means jobs.”
Four other new dam projects are also in the LNP’s sights, including the Nullinga Dam, Rookwood Weir, Urannah Dam, Emu Swamp Dam and raising the Burdekin Falls Dam.
More stories by Nathan Greaves.